Sarah Swallow’s Sick Flatbar 27.5 Sequoia

The general rule of thumb is if you build it, people will cram the biggest tire possible into it. I wish we lived in a world where tire clearances were maxed out with drivetrain efficiency in mind, but it’s not always the case. However, when it is the case, you end up with a very capable bike. So yeah, if you build it… with ‘it’ being the Specialized Sequoia. While people have certainly put mountain bike tires on this bike before, I don’t think I’ve seen anyone fit as big of a tire as Sarah Swallow did with the Ground Control 2.1″. This bike is her recon bike for her 125 mile race next month, the Ruta de Jefe, in Elgin, Arizona. While there is no singletrack per se on the course, the roads can get rowdy, where a wide bar and fat tire will soften the blow from the washboard and ruts.

It’s built with a Rogue Panda framebag, SRAM Force 1, PAUL Klampers, a Revelate Feed Bag, one of those WTF Bikexplorer bidons, and a set of those S-Works Overendz Bar Ends.

Some might call it a hybrid, or just a rigid MTB, so that nomenclature is welcome, but bottom line is, I doubt anyone foresaw a build like this arising from the Sequoia platform!

Also, as a personal note, happy birthday Sarah!
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Follow Sarah on Instagram.

  • Dr J

    I think for an article that focuses on tire choice for this unique bike it would be great to point out what exactly those tires are. I’m guessing they may be 27.5 x 2.3″ but I wouldn’t know that from text nor pictures.

    • “…a tire as Sarah Swallow did with the Ground Control 2.1″.”

      • Dr J

        Thanks! So they are 2.0″ wide? I must’ve missed the “. What about the wheel size – 29 or 27.5?

        • 27.5… There’s no way it’d fit a 29r tire that big.

  • Sattelfest

    why does she choose this bike? Why not a “regular” mtb?
    The look of it is intriguing though

    • Because a ‘road’ geometry is going to ride on dirt roads better than a mtb geometry – ATMO. MTBs usually have longer forks, different geos and have MTB q-factors. The stack height is usually taller on a MTB, so you’re more upright. A road bike with bigger tires will be more zippy and more nimble. Also, she already had this bike and wanted to build it up differently. Personally, not speaking for Sarah, but I like the way a road bike rides with bigger tires, moreso than a MTB with similar tire sizes.

      • Sattelfest

        I see. Thank you for “clearing” this point up! I thought as much that this is just her bike and she tries to make the most of it. Reminds me of the white sklar (drop bar) you featured some time ago…just great

  • Sam Scavo

    This looks like a fun bike for sure. Builds like this one are what we need more of in life.

  • Peter10000

    What does with “drivetrain efficiency” mean? The q-factor?

    • Yeah, Q-Factor, chainring clearance, etc.

      • Peter10000

        Thanks!

  • Scott Wolfe

    how tall is sarah and what is size is the frame?

  • AsSeenOnOkra

    That fade looks way better dirty…

  • Paxton

    This is great.

  • Happy Birthday Sarah!

    • Sarah Swallow

      Thanks Kyle!! :)

  • Scott Sattler

    Can anyone ID the slick little garmin mount she has on the bar ?

    • christopher morrow

      Appears to be a Barfly

    • Sarah Swallow

      Bar Fly 4

  • mikeetheviking

    SUPERBAD

  • Eltigre

    I’m guessing she crimped the chainstays? I’ve got the same bike in a 61cm and I had like 3 mm of clearance on the chainstays with the 47mm sawtooths.

    • Scott Wolfe

      the steel pro module frame has some additional clearance in the stays: you can see it in this photo: https://www.specialized.com/us/en/sequoia-pro-module/p/128934?color=240192-128934

      • Eltigre

        Yeah that’s not helpful. As I said, I own the pro module frame. The dimples you’re referencing are in place for a 700c wheel. They don’t go back far enough to safely run 650b mtb tires. Or at least not with my rim width which is why I suspect the frame has been crimped to run the larger tire. Mr. Ultraromance I believe did that to his Sequoia as well.

        • Sarah Swallow

          This frame has not been crimped.

          • Eltigre

            Interesting! What’s the rim width your running?

          • Sarah Swallow
          • Eltigre

            Ah, thanks!

          • “Ronnie” Romance

            Yeah for whatever reason Sarah’s has more clearance than mine. Maybe it’s just the smaller size. I had to crimp mine to fit a 2.0 fast track. And even then I felt it was too tight; so 47 rear 2.1 front is what I stuck with. That sawtooth is thrash proof, so I would still ride it the same

  • Luis

    any info on the handlebar? looks comfy

  • Your Pal, Al

    sick-uoia for sure. this bike really does it for me.

  • marty larson

    Seeing more of these flat bar conversions just makes me think of mid-90’s mountain bikes. About the same comfort, same capability etc. Even similar looks. Pretty rad in my book.

  • I’d love to know what the fork is. I’m building a rig for the AZT and need durable.

  • Anthony Ip

    this right here might be one of my favorite bikes ever featured here.

  • Zian

    road bike + big tires + flat bars always looks so fun

  • Andy Kaucher

    Two words for those wishing they had a bike like this: Raleigh Redux.

    Speaking as a broke grad student, I wish I could afford half the bikes on this page. No, I don’t work for Raleigh. I just want people to know there’re really cool bikes out there that cost what some people spend on rims alone.

    I have mine set up similar to Sarah’s! Fast mtb tires and inner-bar ends for the win! Single speed for the pain!

  • How much space is there around this tire? I’ve been thinking about basically this build for about a year.

    • There isn’t “mud” clearance, but should be ok in arid environments.

      • So I’m guessing this wouldn’t be 2.1 on 30mm rim friendly then.

        • Probably not but I’m not sure. All tires come in at different sizes. I’ve had one brand’s 2.1″ tires clear a frame before and then another brand’s not.

  • Nick

    As a sequoia owner myself this seems a roundabout way of making a heavy epic hardtail, but hey, sweet build anyway!

    I’ve been toying with a 27.5 wheelset, unfortunate there are no clearance photos but thanks for the report.